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Japan Loves Yon-sama’s Korea

Posted December. 19, 2004 22:50,   


Japanese public affinity towards Korea has yielded a record high, while affinity towards the Chinese is at an all-time low.

Up 1.7 percentage points from last year, 56.7 percent of the 3,000 adults surveyed nationwide (response rate; 68.9 percent) have reported a “familiarity” towards Korea, according to a public opinion poll conducted by the Japanese Diet from October 7 to 17. It is the highest rate since the commencement of the polls in 1978.

Several media have analyzed the trend to be the Korean wave of the “Yon-sama craze” that originated from the Korean soap opera a “Winter Sonata.”

But only 55.5 percent of the respondents stated that the current Korean-Japan relations are ‘satisfactory’, down 4.3 percentage points from last year. The results show that familiarity does not lead directly to improved relations between the two countries.

Down 10.3 percentage points, only 37.6 percent of the respondents claimed a familiarity towards China, which was a record low. Reasons for these results include the heckling of Chinese spectators against the Japanese team during August’s Asian Soccer Cup match, the invasion of a Chinese nuclear submarine in Japan’s seas, and Hu Jintao’s protests against the Japanese prime minister’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine.

A total of 71.8 percent felt an affinity towards the United States, down 4.0 percentage points.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com